University costs and pathways

You may feel uncertain about university as an option for your child; too expensive, too hard to get in, too many unknowns?


Find out more about the costs of university and how these can be managed and explore different pathways into uni for regional students below.


Costs of university

The main costs of university are course fees and living expenses. The exact cost of these will depend on the course, where your child is studying, and whether they can study close to home or need to live away from home while they study.

Most Australian students can defer their university course fees until after they’ve finished studying. This is called a HECS-HELP loan and students gradually pay back this loan once they start working and earning over a certain amount.

Eligible students can claim a government allowance while they study (Youth Allowance, AUSTUDY, ABSTUDY) and institutions also offer a range of scholarships (and not just for academic-merit) which can assist with students’ living costs while they are at university.


Ways to apply for university

One way school leavers can apply for uni is through their ATAR – the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank. Students gain an ATAR by … The ATAR provides a measure of students’ overall academic achievement in the High School Certificate in relation to that of other students.

Other students enter university via a university preparatory program, such as a Diploma of General Studies that enables students to study at uni while they are further preparing for the degree of their choice.

Some students go to TAFE and receive qualifications that may allow them to apply for university later – and in some cases get credit for this study too.

Schools Recommendation Schemes (SRS) are one way institutions make early offers to current Australian Year 12 students who have applied for undergraduate admission through the University Admissions Centre  or UAC.

If you are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, check with your chosen uni about the admission schemes they offer. Most institutions have an admission scheme specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.


Regional and Remote Students

Your child may be eligible for regional bonus points if you live in a designated region, or attend school in a designated region. If eligible, bonus points are awarded automatically to applications made through the University Admisions Centre – your child will not need to apply separately.

Regional and remote students may also be eligible for the following financial assistance:

  • A Relocation scholarship which could mean a payment of over $4,000 in their first year of studying
  • Rent Assistance – if your child living indefinitely away from you to study
  • Fares Allowance – financial support so your child can visit home throughout the year.


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